There are bad, and I mean truly bad, things that happen. As Judge Kopf put it, sometimes bad things happen to good people, and it can’t be helped. But this could have been helped. It never should have happened. It never should have been possible. Yet it was and it did.
It was before dawn on Nov. 27, 2001, and Termaine Joseph Hicks was at the wrong place at precisely the wrong time.
A woman had been pistol-whipped, dragged into an alleyway behind what was then St. Agnes Hospital in South Philadelphia, and raped — until the rapist was startled and fled the scene. Hicks heard her screams and rushed to help. But, seconds later, police officers arrived, took him for the rapist and shot him three times. Hicks survived, but was charged with the rape and sentenced to 12½ to 25 years in prison.
On Wednesday, after 19 years’ incarceration, Hicks, 45, was, at last, exonerated.
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner exonerated Hicks. Hicks? Mr. Hicks. Sir Hicks. You deserve more respect than words allow for what you did and suffered. You tried to help a woman being beaten and raped, and for your kindness, the cops shot you and then framed you, stealing 19 years of your innocent life.
Aside from this story needing to be told, and Mr. Hicks deserving more than I can offer here, I bring this up for another reason.
Termaine Joseph Hicks suffered. He was shot. He was wrongfully convicted. He lost 19 years of his life. That is suffering.
Someone told a joke that, with a little searching, whining and opportune twisting, hurt your feelings? And that offended you. And that offended you so much that you had to call it out. And that offended you so much that you were outraged, that you were traumatized, that you demand “justice.”
What the fuck is wrong with you people? Worry about Mr. Hicks. Stop obsessing about your own narcissistic puny obsession with finding reasons to play the victim. You’re not victim. Words may be unpleasant, but they sure as shit didn’t hurt as much as the bullets that lodged in Mr. Hicks’ body. And your trauma, likely more facile self-delusion than reality, surely won’t cost you 19 years of your life.
And why are so many of you acquiescing to this nonsense? You tiptoe around minefields of offense to avoid saying any word that might generate some gymnastic claim of offense, because Cicero once farted and therefore a word is sexist. By doing this, you encourage, if not empower, those delicate flowers who fell below the reasonable person standard that law putatively honored for centuries in order to not make the most easily offended person the bar by which society would be judged.
You want a victim? Mr. Hicks is a victim.
You, dear delicate-eared hearer of a joke that only by the most labored attenuation can be claimed offensive, are not a victim. Did someone say “master,” as in potter or bater, and it made you cry? If so, you’re mentally unstable, but more likely it did no such thing and you’re lying for the cause, to prove your goodness and virtue. Imagine, a generation of liars to prove virtue?
There are people out there, real people, human beings, some black, some white, some green, some male, some female, some whatever they want to be, who suffer actual harm, real harm, like being pistol-whipped and raped, or being shot and imprisoned, and they didn’t have to go looking for problems to suffer.
You, you entitled little shit, search desperately for a reason to claim the mantle of victim. Enough with that bullshit. Every time you want to pretend you’ve been offended, think of what Mr. Hicks went through, and will still go through, and thank your lucky stars you’re not him, because you could have been. But for Larry Krasner exonerating him, Mr. Hicks would have died in prison. If you’ve never had to spend a day in prison as an innocent person, then shut up and stop whining.